Wario World (GameCube) review
"Let me go ahead and make a confession... Over the past year or so, I have lost faith in video games, in general. Every game I have played in the past year has been mediocre to very good, but nothing had caught and kept my attention in quite some time. I even went back and began playing some of my old favorites, yet even they started to feel stale to me. Super Mario Sunshine was a let down, Star Fox Adventures was a trashy novelty, and The Wind Waker, while a great game, was nothing more than jus..."
Let me go ahead and make a confession... Over the past year or so, I have lost faith in video games, in general. Every game I have played in the past year has been mediocre to very good, but nothing had caught and kept my attention in quite some time. I even went back and began playing some of my old favorites, yet even they started to feel stale to me. Super Mario Sunshine was a let down, Star Fox Adventures was a trashy novelty, and The Wind Waker, while a great game, was nothing more than just that. And while I consider Wario World on the same level, even slightly below The Wind Waker, it has a certain feel of magic that I have been longing for that no game since Sly Cooper & The Thievious Raccoonus has been able to provide. Thank God.
The thing that catches the eye out of everything in Wario World is not the actual graphics themselves, but how they are displayed. What I mean by this is that, while the graphics simply look as if they are an upgrade over that of a Nintendo 64 title; smoothed out to have a polished look, yet just crazy enough to grab your attention span and strangle it, much like most ''main'' titles in Nintendo's circle.
Colorful and delightful. The atmospheres in the game provide a much more ''solid'' and well-rounded feel to complete the game's charm as opposed to work against it. Basically, I will ask a question: how can a game look very unrealistic, yet elegant and pleasing at the same time? The answer is the same exact way that Wario World presents itself. While other platform games feed off of the immediate gameplay elements in the direct area you are in, Wario World uses the backgrounds and atmosphere as that of a painting, thus completing the portrait.
Speaking of the atmospheres, the game uses certain objects and such as a genius way of creative thinking on the matter. Unlike in most platform games, where the backgrounds and scenery are just that, Treasure did not create the surroundings just for looks. It is highly intelligent for a game designer to think of creative arenas to bring the player to, and use the area as more than just eye candy.
Over half of the bosses in the game use the arena as a tool to destroy you, and it makes the player think outlines of the normal platform guidelines. Instead of just plain ol' killing things, you have to look at your surroundings, and plan a strategy from there. I truly wish more developers would do this sort of thing.
Sadly, it also seems as if Treasure wasted a lot of time adding to the gameplay elements between the entire picture as a whole and forgot to add more than eight actual stages. This is something that has a lot of gamers throwing down the controller and returning the disc to the store they bought it from. While there are an additional five stages consisting of boss levels alone, it still does not bring the overall value to the table that is filling enough to call it a meal.
While we are on the topic of things that bother me in this game, let me carry on to the fact that, while I can rant and rave as much as possible over how lovely the surroundings are, the developers were extremely lazy when it came to monster design. The bosses themselves are very unique, and around half of them are unique to their respective stages in general. However, the common monster design is cute at first, but wears thin once you reach the sixth stage or so.
One of the brighter points regarding the game itself is the placement of the items and other pick-ups in the game. Everything is stored in unique places that can be found easily to hunters, yet difficult to the naked eye. You can also find Treasure Chests containing either healing items, or Coins, both of which are helpful in the later stages of the game. Sadly, this is also at random, and the Coins always seem to come up more than the health items. If that is a good thing on the developer’s part, or a bad thing, you tell me. It’s a mutual agreement on my part.
The actual gameplay of the title is very charming at first, with Wario being able to perform Piledrivers, and spinning throws. This quickly wears off, however, forcing you to repeat the same redundancy over and over again. A wider variety of attacks would have been appreciated, or at least various other set-ups when encountering the casual enemy. Speaking of the casual enemy, the game is oversaturated with them, making it a quite bitter aftertaste.
However, in the end, after a few lackluster bosses and the redundant enemies as the game draws to a close, the charm is still in tact! I honestly do not understand it, but the charm will still have you overwhelmed by the game’s end. The intelligence at certain points on the developer’s part helps fuel this concept, and cheers to them for it.
As for the difficulty in the game, I believe many-a gamer can agree on the fact that the difficulty is quite simple in regards to regular challenges. Wario World steals a bit of cheap luck, in a sense, from Super Monkey Ball 2. There are “Red Diamond” areas in the game, which will place you in awkward grounds where you must either jump across blocks (which will disappear), or fall into certain areas with lady luck on your shoulder. While some may find this cheap, myself included, it is also what made the Super Monkey Ball franchise successful, and fun, to boot.
You are given an unlimited amount of Continues (for a price, at least, which will increase over time) to start you out with, in case you die in the middle of the stage and the like. This is one of the few things that is both extremely easy, and makes the game a simple, dull habit that is fragile to break, and will scare off the “challenge mongers” out there.
The enemies in the game are common rip-offs upon one another, over and over again. Simply imagine the same exact enemy, with a different ''skin.'' Their attacks are the same, their scale model is the same, and their patterns are the exact same as the previous. It is sort of cute at first, but soon grows to be novel and faulty throughout, until you are entirely too bored with the enemies in general to think it was a good idea in the first place.
As for the sounds in the game, the only word that I can really come up with is “highly annoying.” The voiceovers are extremely cute, and quirky, for about five seconds. Then it gets to the point where somebody needs to slam some Ritalin down Wario’s throat to get him to shut the hell up, or say something different. The music is very odd, yet passive. Perfect background melodies, basically.
Well, it had to be sooner or later... I guess I should clear everything with the storyline. Yes, the story is absolutely terrible. And yes, I have knocked this game a few times in this review, however, everything I knocked was something negative on the developers’ part. Mega Man 2 had a terrible storyline, yet most people consider it one of the greatest games ever. Same thing with Super Metroid.
The fact is, a four-hour platform game is not an RPG. It does not need an epic storyline to hook you. In fact, if you play platformers for the storyline, I pity you. Super Mario 64’s storyline was just as bland and terrible as this game’s storyline, but no one is using that as an excuse to hate the game. To all of the other reviews that state they hate the game, I can accept that. But do not use cheap shots against the story to get your point across. Thank you.
What is even better is the added bonus, and excellent marketing ploy on Nintendo’s part, to include unlock-able minigames from the hit Game Boy Advance title, Wario Ware, Inc. Micro Minigames, inside of Wario World. If you have a Game Boy Advance to GameCube connector cable, then you can download these awesome, addictively fun minigames to your GBA(SP).
These minigames include several EXTREMELY odd concepts, including dodging soccer balls for a few seconds with a tiny remote controlled racecar, shooting spaceships from the sky (ala Space Invaders, or most cell phone games), jumping over hot dog cars that pass you, and jumping over a pixel rope over and over again. Very intelligent move on Nintendo, as the games are like feeding American children speed by the bottle.
As a result to the Wario Ware, Inc. Micro Minigames, well, minigames, there are a few other items to collect in the game to extend the replay value, including Spritelings, which will give you tips, and Wario Statue Pieces, which will give Wario an extra half of a heart, if all eight are collected. The items are placed in very blatant places in hidden areas, which are not too hard to find, but you will have to go out of your way to get them. A risky decision by Treasure, but one that paid off in the end with brilliance.
However, amidst the bad that I detailed, the overall presence that Wario World takes you to is a grand feeling of gaming joy that you should definitely experience once, at least for a quick rental, if you do not enjoy short adventures in your video game library. Coming from the person that wrote over 300kb about this game in an FAQ (which means over 50 hours of gameplay), I can honestly say that this is definitely not a game that everyone will enjoy. For me, however, it was a wake up call that I have needed ever since the end of last summer.
The music is in the tone of the game, much like the collectible minidisks that you could find in Wario Land 4, only with more harmony; a bit obscure, but the sound effects, and Wario’s constant chatter (not to mention the highly annoying “Naaaa-Naaa-Naaa-Naaaaaaa-Naaaaaaaaa” voiceover on the pause menu) bring the score down quite a lot here.
Basically, if Super Mario 64 were developed today, it would look a lot like Wario World. As stated in the actual review, the game looks like a highly tuned, polished version of a Nintendo-Nintendo 64 game, if that makes much sense. Regardless, the backgrounds, which include mirrors, deserts, carnivals with spotlights that follow your character, jungle settings, and much, much more help bring this colorful, fictional game to life.
The overall set up to the gameplay is ravishing, to say the least. The boss fights are some of the best in ages, which actually make you think rather than completely destroy things constantly. I truly wish that more developers would get on the bandwagon with this, as it is refreshing to use objects in the atmosphere, and the surroundings to your advantage rather than mindless shooting/blowing things up. The “Red Diamond” areas are very annoying and unoriginal, however, they still spice up as breaks from the repetitive, mindless fighting in the actual stages (which also lowers the score).
As I stated in the introduction paragraph, I had lost faith in video games until I played this one, but that does not mean that it is perfect. There are too many redundancies in the game to make it something I will remember and cherish over the next ten to twenty years (ala, A Link To The Past), however, it still shows so much promise of hope for the future, and possibly a slew of games like this to follow.
Overall (not an average): 8.0
While the game itself is rather short, I have never had a problem with that. If we were concerned about disregarding short games, classics such as Resident Evil, Kirby’s Dream Land, and Super Metroid would have never been acknowledged. If it were longer, I would have considered a 9/10, but sadly, this awesome adventure ends before it truly begins. A definite rental, and a purchase, if you enjoy fine throwback genre games.
Community review by zoop (February 05, 2004)
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